Writers Write

Let Her Rip


A friend gives me her cast-offs. Last month, I scored a black leather jacket with unfortunate puffs over the shoulders. Think Linda Evans in Dynasty. The jacket is too nice to toss, but If I wear it, I’ll walk around yelling, “Blake, Blake! What’s wrong? Alexis, get away from him!” So, it’s been in purgatory for a few weeks now, draped over Old Dusty, my sewing machine.

Today, I pulled out the seam ripper. I know what you’re thinking.

When did this become a sewing blog?

Relax. I haven’t renamed Crisply SpokenThe Crafty Critter, but I did decide, sans sleeves, the jacket would make a fine vest.

I’ve been working on the same book for three and a half years. At eighteen months, the agent Donald Maass said something that exploded my brain.

You don’t write romance. You write satire. Here’s what you need to do.

I took the sleeves and body apart at the seams, pushed out the plot, added a few points of view, and connected the characters in ways I hadn’t imagined. For two years, I saved the good parts, splitting and splicing and refashioning them.

Now, I have a vest instead of a jacket.